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Robert Morris

Robert Morris signs Toole to 2-year extension

Paul Schofield
| Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 2:49 p.m.
Robert Morris coach Andy Toole talks to his team during a timeout against Wagner during an NEC Tournament game Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at Sewall Center.
Sidney Davis | Trib Total Media
Robert Morris coach Andy Toole talks to his team during a timeout against Wagner during an NEC Tournament game Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at Sewall Center.

Robert Morris men's basketball coach Andy Toole had a chance to leave the university for a higher conference two weeks ago.

After interviewing with Fordham of the Atlantic 10 and weighing his options, the 34-year-old coach decided there was no place better for him than Robert Morris.

Toole officially signed a two-year extension Wednesday that carries him through the 2019-20 season.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Matt Millett, RMU's director of university sponsorship and athletic fundraising, said the extension puts Toole on par with A-10 coaching salaries.

Robert Morris previously lost two coaches to the A-10: Danny Nee to Duquesne in 2001 and Mark Schmidt to St. Bonaventure in 2007.

It's the second time in the past two years that Toole was given an extension. He signed a three-year deal in 2013 weeks after Toole interviewed at Siena.

Each time Toole's decided to stay at RMU, the school has upgraded the facilities at Sewall Center and increased salaries.

“I accept coming back to the excitement that surrounds our program and the growth that I've seen of the program over the eight years that I've been here,” Toole said. “Things are on the horizon and those things were too difficult to walk away from. Our roster that's returning, our staff that's in place and just the day-to-day interacts I have with so many people on this campus made it too difficult for me to say, let's start all over somewhere else.

“I'm excited about the agreement we have in place and excited about the future.”

The fifth-year coach has compiled a 110-65 record and made four postseason appearances.

Robert Morris (20-15) won the Northeast Conference Tournament championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, losing to eventual NCAA champion Duke, 85-56, in Charlotte, N.C.

The two people that Toole thanked the most were athletic director Dr. Craig Coleman and university president Dr. Gregory Dell'Omo.

“I said when I was hired five years ago it took a special kind of leader to hire a 29-year-old who looked 14,” Toole said. “He is that kind of leader who had that kind of faith in me and my ability to continue the trajectory of the program.

“Aside from all the financial investments and resources that he's committed to the program and our athletic department, some of the personal things he did meant a lot.”

Coleman announced the Board of Trustees on Monday approved Phase I of a new convocation center, which will be located below the Sewall Center near the entrance to the university.

The board approved the start of a fundraising campaign, approved details of a design, a preliminary site location and a business plan of what events could be held at the new arena.

Dell'Omo said previously that the new facility would make it easier for Robert Morris to move to a more high profile conference.

“The impact of a new facility is immeasurable,” Toole said. “As a staff, we are cautiously optimistic about it. ... I think it has the opportunity to improve every single aspect of the program.”

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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